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Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Moving Along

Disaster has been averted, yarn has been received, yarn has been sent and knitting has been done. Whew!

blue #2

I didn't let the blue sweater get me down. In fact, I bound off stitches for the armholes last night. I don't think this is going to be another 2 week sweater, but I think I can live with that. I'm just happy try number 2 worked out and the gauge behaved this time.


My Rowan KSH arrived yesterday! There is nothing better than free yarn! Unfortunately, I will not be able to wear the sweater I am making until I am in a more delicate condition. (hint, hint)

And my Sundara Worsted Merino is on it's way over as we speak. I can't wait to see what Sundara came up with! Again, unfortunately the sweater will not be for me, but possibly will be ok at a later time.

Friday, October 27, 2006

When Gauge Swatches LIE!

Had a bit of a stressful day at work and my fiance didn't end up driving up to NYC tonight as I had hoped. So I decided to wind down, go downtown and meet the Spiders. I had a lovely time and got to meet quite a few faces behind some of the NYC blogs on my list. (Sorry if I missed anyone - there were so many of you!)

And now....Why Gauge Swatches Lie:

When I got home, I sat down to knit some more - I was so close to starting the armhole. When I finally reached the correct number of rows, I laid it out for a measuring session. Hmm, 18 inches long - that can't be right!

zen blue secret
18 inches long

"Ok, calm down and breathe. Where is my sketch book?"

Hmm, should measure 14 1/2 inches. Find the gauge swatch, recheck gauge. Then I check the gauge on the sweater, here are my findings:

Swatch originally: 5.75 sts x 9.5 rows per inch

Swatch now: 5.75 sts x 8 rows per inch

Sweater: 5.5 sts x 7.75 sts per inch

ARRRRRGGGGGHHHHHH! I hate it when gauge swatches lie, cheat and steal! The sad thing is, I am so careful. I knit a BIG swatch - at least 6 x 6. I let it settle after I steam it. I wait til the next day to check the gauge and then recheck it again and again. Why, gauge swatch, why?!!!!

zen blue yarn

So here I am again, back at square one. Luckily I am patient and I realize this is just part of the process sometimes. (Luckily not all the time!) Stuff happens and I'm not going to let it get me down! In fact, on Monday I'll probably be right back in the same place - only it will be the correct place this time! So take that gauge swatch!

And before I go, here is my progress on my lonely Embossed Leaves sock for Socktoberfest. Don't worry little guy, you'll be finished one day!

socktoberfest socks

P.S. Thanks for all the nice B-day wishes everyone!

Thursday, October 26, 2006

Please Make Time Stand Still!

I wish time could just stand still, just for a week or two. Is that too much to ask? To have 2 weeks of uninterrupted, glorious knitting time - what I wouldn't give for that! I am also turning 27 today and it feels a bit strange. I wouldn't mind time standing still for a bit longer than 2 weeks either!

On Monday, I was contacted by Lark Books about a submission I sent a few weeks ago. The informed me that they would like to use 2 of my 3 submissions for the book - which was very exciting! Then I came off my high and realized that I need to knit 2 quite substantial sweaters by the first week of January. Not only that, but I was in charge of getting the yarn myself - which meant trying to contact the manufacturers to get it donated or having to buy it myself (which would have really ate into my small payment). Luckily I never erase an email and went back to an email from Rowan from 3 years ago and got the USA contact info. They wrote back right away and I have free Rowan Cracksilk Haze on the way at this very moment. Oh yeah, did I mention that not only is one project quite substantial, but that it is also in Kidsilk - on size 4 needles???

Now you must be thinking to yourself, "Ah, what is she worried about - she has 2 months and she just knit a sweater in 2 weeks!" But this is what you might not realize is going on behind the scenes - I have 3 projects for Black Pearl Yarns to finish, a new Spring pattern for Sundara Yarns, and my SnB project to do! I'm pretty much booked until 2007! Everyone is getting IOU's at Christmas this year!

And not to leave you with a completely pictureless post, here is my progress on sweater number 2 for Black Pearl:

blue progress

I also have progress to report on my Soctoberfest sock, but I keep forgetting to take a picture. I don't know if I'll be able to finish even one sock before the end of the month, but as Lolly says, there's no deadline - it's for the fun of it! Well, even if I can't finish, it was nice to be able to participate this month!

Sunday, October 22, 2006

Blue Means Go

I never thought a blue light would make me so happy:


I haven't seen this beautiful blue light for 3 weeks! Luckily I was correct in my diagnosis - a new power supply unit works wonders! A new Apple is still on the wishlist, but I need to save a few more ducats before that can become a reality.

But I know you guys are more interested in how I made out in Rhinebeck, right?

I had a great time! I drove up with Dana and met up with Carolyn, Gwen, Colette, Mia, Sam, and Maritza. We managed to cover most of the vendors and amazingly didn't get pushed around too much. We watched the dog trials and ran into a few other bloggers. I have Dana to thank for that, she has eagle eyes. My excuse is that I was suffering from sensory overload!

And can you believe I almost walked away without buying one single thing! Everything was really nice, but I had a hard time committing to anything. Then just as I was saying my good-byes, I happened to spot a really pretty colored yarn out of the corner of my eye. Then I noticed the booth belonged to Briar Rose Fibers - one of the sponsors for the podcast Cast-On. It was all over from there, I went inside and found this beautiful lace weight alpaca.

This 2500 yards of pretty alpaca goodness will someday become a shawl.

I'll have some more pictures to post later. I brought my camera, but was too lazy to drag the 10 ton thing out for photo ops. (Bad lazy blogger!) Again, I have Dana to thank, she'll be emailing the pictures she took once she gets back on Tuesday.

Friday, October 20, 2006

I heart M & J

Went over to M&J Trims at lunch today to pick up some finishing touches for the cashmere sweater:


It's hand dyed silk! So pretty!

Thursday, October 19, 2006

Girl, You'll Be a Sweater Soon

Sorry, no progress photos to report. It would be too easy to guess the style of the sweater for Black Pearl Yarns. But I am very happy to mention that it will hopefully be available very soon! I have been flying through this project with lightning speed. The front was finished Tuesday night and sleeve one was finished last night. I would have had both sleeves finished, but I didn't like the way the cap of the first was fitting so it went the way of the frog pond. Sometimes set in sleeves work the first time, sometimes they don't.

My goal is to have the sweater completely blocked and sewn up by Sunday night. That would make the sweater a two week knit and would beat my previous record of the Olympic Sweater! Then it's off to word processing land to get that puppy all typed up and ready to go to the tech editor.

However, Rhinebeck just might cut into some of that precious seaming time. Oh what a tough life I lead! This is the first time I will be going and I am so excited. I hope to see some of you there for fun times and wooly goodness!

Also, I just joined the Independent Knitwear Designers webring. Be sure to check out some of the other talented indie designers the web has to offer!

independend knitwear designers

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Speed Knitter

I've been working on the secret cashmere project for Black Pearl Yarns for 1 week and 1 day and look what I've completed!

cashmere progress
I have a finished back and 1/2 of a front!

I don't know how I went from knitting a complete sweater in 6 months to knitting one in about 2-3 weeks, but I'm not complaining one bit. I think it's a combination of adoring the way the cashmere feels running through my fingers and wanting to start my next project. This arrived for me yesterday:

zen blue
Black Pearl Cashmere in Zen Blue

Is this not the most gorgeous blue color you've ever seen? I am such a lucky girl!

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

The Difference

If any one ever doubted the difference between being a designer in the industry and a handknit designer - here's some numbers that quite startled me today:

I have worked at KBL for 1 year and 4 months - how many sweaters have I designed or been "inspired by" in that time - get ready - 1,553 sweaters!! That's 97 sweaters a month. That's crazy and I'm still in shock.

How many sweaters have I knit in that same time period? Eight.


My Embossed Leaves socks are coming along well. I've hit the heel, but am stalled for the moment because of the secret cashmere project. Deadlines always come first, but I'm flying along and hope to at least finish one sock for Socktoberfest.

Sorry for the pictureless post, but my computer at home has been out of commission for the past week. The power supply unit decided to not work anymore and I finally found a replacement on ebay yesterday. Just a word of warning - never buy a Sony Vaio! I've had it for 6 years, but I've had to replace parts constantly starting from year 2 on. My next computer will be a Mac!

Thursday, October 05, 2006

Great Day - 4 Down 1 to Go

Today was a great day.

At lunch, I walk into the room and see this:

Lunch time knitters

Lunch time knitters

3 out of the 5 were knitting! 3 out of the 5 that I taught were knitting! I was happy and somehow shocked all at the same time.

I've been slowly teaching my fellow designers how to knit over the past several months, but some have bit a bit slower in keeping the knitting spirit alive. So I was very surprised to come in to eat my lunch and 3 of them were knitting! Then Marcia was interested in learning, so I grabbed an extra pair of needles out of my bag and taught her a few things. The great thing about teaching sweater designers how to knit is that they already understand the terminology. It makes teaching that much easier! They all get a gold star from teacher today and are progressing well.

The only one left

So I have achieved my goal of having all the designers learn to knit.....almost. David is still holding out on us. He has knit before, but claims he knits too tight and can't change. We'll see about that. I bet by the end of the winter, he won't be able to help himself - or he'll just stop eating lunch with us!

When lunch was over, we asked our boss if he wanted to join us sometime. He didn't seem too interested, but he was interested in what I had in the box:

Ginger Peach

This would be my cashmere from Black Pearl Yarns in Ginger Peach for my next secret project. I had him take a look and he then remarked that he just wanted to roll around in it. He followed that statement with, "Is that a weird thing to say?" Which we replied, "No, that's pretty much the standard thing to say once you feel cashmere." So there you have it, knitters and non-knitters all agree when it comes to cashmere yarn.

And to top this great day off, it is opening night for the Philadelphia Flyers! Yay! Hockey season is officially back in swing.

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Sock History

In the spirit of socktoberfest, I'd like to share a little bit about my history of sock knitting - although it's a been short one!

My first pair of socks were completed about a year ago with the help of my secret pal. I dropped the hint that I wanted to learn and she sent me some great sock yarn and a simple sock pattern from Knitting Pure and Simple. They weren't anything too fancy - basic crew with a heel flap and simple toe knit on DPNs. They fit pretty well, little loose at the top though. I probably should have gone down one needle size.

First Socks

My second socks were intended to be a Christmas gift, but I decided I liked them for myself and didn't know if I would make the deadline. They were the Log Cabin Socks from Handknit Holidays. I wore them all winter long in my very chilly apartment. The Rowan Calmer held up just fine - and so did the rib trim this time!

log cabin socks
Log Cabin Socks

For my third pair, I decided to be a little more adverturous and learn how to do a short-row heel and toe. I used Opal self striping yarn, which kept my plain stockinette sock from becoming too boring. In fact, they were far from boring. I was so addicted, I ended up knitting 3 socks. So much for second sock syndrome!

chameleon socks finished
Chameleon socks

My fourth pair were Pomatomus made with Koigu. I had been a Koigu virgin and I have no idea why it took me so long to knit with this wonderful yarn! The colors were beautiful and worked so well with the fish scale like pattern. I've yet to wear this pair yet, since I finished in the summer, but I'm sure the Koigu will hold up just fine.

pomatomus finished

And now, my current Socktoberfest socks:

embossed leaves
Embossed Leaves from Interweave Knits Winter 2005

socktoberfest start
Slow start

I've been dying to make these socks and only bought this issue because of them. I was also waiting for the right yarn to come along. I think the Mulberry Tree color and the shine of this yarn works perfectly with this pattern. I'm loving the color effect too. It's not stripy like other yarns, it give more of a mottled, almost impressionist kind of effect. It's so pretty!

Even though I've knit a few pairs now, I tend to stick to the same old technique and my trusty DPNs (my favorites are Brittany's 5" long Birch needles). There's so much I need to learn - different heel and toe finishes, knitting with the magic loop method, and of course the holy of all holies - knitting two at the same time!

I love knitting socks for two reasons: portability and they make great small in-between projects. It's easy to just throw a sock in your bag and knit a few rows here and there. And with all the secret projects I've been working on lately, they are a welcome something small to knit when I have a few minutes to myself between projects.

Hope you enjoyed my little "history" and hope everyone has an enjoyable Socktoberfest!

Monday, October 02, 2006


Since I actually had some free time tonight and I don't have any deadlines at the moment (at least til the cashmere arrives), I decided to sign up for Lolly's Socktoberfest.

I've had some absolutely gorgeous yarn staring at me everyday when I sit down at my computer and I want to use it NOW! So I figure joining Socktoberfest will give me that much needed push to get something knit for myself this month.


Unfortunately, with the arrival of fall comes bad picture taking light. The color of this yarn is to dye for in person. Sorry for the corny pun! It's Superwash Merino & Tencel from Yarn Botanika. It was a little present for signing on to design with Black Pearl Yarns. Here's a little better look at the color: Mulberry Tree.

There are plenty of deadlines on the horizon though. Tonight is almost a calm before the storm. I have a few secret cashmere things coming up and drumroll please.......

After much anticipation and waiting, last Friday I was notified that one of my designs was accepted to be in Debbie Stoller's next Stitch N Bitch book! Yay! I'm so excited! There was much jumping up and down right before I caught my train back to Jersey that night. It was a surprising end to a crazy, but fun week.

Now off to wind up that beautiful sock yarn! Can't lose any more time!